Uganda bans protests over presidential age limit plans

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Uganda has banned “illegal” protests over plans to remove presidential age limits from the country’s constitution that would allow Yoweri Museveni to continue running in elections.

Police announced the ban on Wednesday after teargas was used to disperse crowds at opposition protests on Tuesday. Further demonstrations are expected but authorities have warned opposition supporters to refrain from organising or attending protests.

‘Illegal demonstrations’

A bill to remove the age limit for presidential candidates was introduced in parliament last month – a move that sparked fistfights among lawmakers on two consecutive days. Opposition supporters are furious over plans to change the constitution, which would allow incumbent president Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth term in 2021 and further elections.

Various protests against the bill have already taken place but police in Uganda have now banned further demonstrations.

“Consultations must not include illegal demonstrations, illegal processions, inciting violence, use of hate campaigns, use of abusive language, acts of hooliganism of any sort, intimidation of any persons perceived to be supporting the removal of the age limit,” said the assistant inspector general of police, Assuman Mugenyi, in a statement.

Tensions rising in Uganda

Opposition demonstrations are routinely denied permission in Uganda, making the police’s ban fairly typical. However, the situation in Uganda right now is more volatile than usual as opposition politicians face the prospect of Yoweri Museveni remaining in power for life.

If the bill to remove presidential age limits successfully passes through parliament, the final barrier preventing Museveni’s grip on power will be removed. Opposition members know this is their last chance to prevent Museveni from running in every election until the day he dies. And, despite his popularity appearing to grow smaller every year, the Ugandan president has a track record of pulling election wins out of the bag – a trend opposition members fear will never end should the presidential age limit be removed.

 

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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.